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In today's Daily Record: Gang problem nothing new in Morris
Staff Report • March 22, 2010

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Buzz up!Twitter FarkIt Type Size A A A Gangs plague Morris County towns - and they have for some time. Today, the Daily Record looks back on 20 years of drug dealing, murder and gang violence as we continue our seven-part series.

Criminal gangs are on the upswing in New Jersey and moving into suburban
communities and white-collar crimes, the Daily Record reports in the series. And their presence is visible. Just this month, a former Morris County jail inmate testified that accused killer Jade Michele Ransom confided she fatally shot a man in Dover as part of an initiation into the Bloods.

While gangs have preyed on urban communities for decades, a new wrinkle is a high level of sophistication by the gang members and leaders.

A ranking Bloods member interviewed by Gannett New Jersey, whose crimes and gang rank were verified by law enforcement sources, said gangs are ''in the nicest neighborhoods, the best schools - colleges, too."

The Bloods have been caught using college students to pass fraudulent checks. The net proceeds from the bank fraud topped $654,000 before the scam was shut down last year. The gang members were so brazen that at least one of the phony checks was from the "The Blood Bank Center of New Jersey."

Other findings include:
-- Schools are the growth area for gangs. Anti-gang education is needed and
should start, in some cases, at early as the third grade.
-- Gangs control 90 percent of the $1 billion-a-year drug trade.
-- Law enforcement is hindered by a lack of centralized data and intelligence
system. Authorities at all levels are struggling to keep up with the growth of
gangs. There are an estimated 1 million gang members in the U.S., with 20,000
members in New Jersey alone.

The series runs through March 28.
 
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